UAE Celebrates 46 Years of Great Achievements
The monthly PMI through the third quarter of the year resulted in the strongest quarterly expansion of the non-oil economy over a two-year period.
The October figure was underpinned by faster output growth, an expansion in new orders and new export orders, while employment growth continued, marking 18 months of continuous job creation. On the price side, input price inflation was subdued, while output prices fell for the second consecutive month on the back of intense competition.
Focus Economics Consensus Forecast participants expect the UAE’s GDP to grow by 3.2 percent in 2018 and 3.4 percent in 2019, with fixed investment increasing by 3.7 percent in 2018 and 4.3 percent in 2019.
Despite the pressures, the Central Bank recorded a threemonth rise in bank deposits in the third quarter, another indication of the improved health of the economy.
Effective October 1st 2017, the UAE marked the beginning of a new era in its history, as it started implementing the Excise Tax, exactly three months ahead of the launch of Value-Added Tax, VAT, another landmark region-wide tax initiative.
“As President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issues Federal Decree-Law No. 07 of 2017 on Excise Tax, the UAE takes a great leap forward,” H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Federal Tax Authority, FTA, was recorded as saying. “We are making remarkable progress in our plans to establish a sound legislative infrastructure to support the UAE’s tax sys- tem and make sure it meets and exceeds international best practices.”
The step is expected to diversify Government economic streams, strengthening the economy and ensuring sustainability, he noted.
“The Excise Tax, in particular, will help us build a healthier and safer society,” Sheikh Hamdan said. “This tax is set to discourage the consumption of products that negatively impact the environment and, more importantly, people’s health, while the revenues it generates will go towards supporting advanced services for all members of society.”
The new legislation requires Excise Tax to be imposed on certain activities around specific “Excise Goods”, activities such as the production or importation of Excise Goods in the UAE, as well as the stockpiling of Excise Goods in the UAE, where these activities are in the course of doing business.
Initial estimates suggest that the tax will generate up to around AED7 billion in annual revenues for the Federal Budget.
On-line registration for ValueAdded Tax purposes for businesses began in September.
In the key oil and gas sector of the economy, the most significant development of the year was the announcement that the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, was to list a minority stake in its subsidiary, ADNOC Distribution, on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.
Announcing the step at the 2017 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, ADIPEC, in early November, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and CEO of the ADNOC Group, said that, “The planned IPO, to be listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, will offer both UAE and international investors an unprecedented opportunity to invest alongside ADNOC in one of the region’s leading retail brands.”
ADNOC, which underwent a major re-structuring and re-branding exercise during the year, will continue to remain wholly owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi.
At an international level, the UAE has continued to perform well against its competitors. In the latest World Competitiveness Ranking of 63 countries by the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, issued in May 2017, the UAE rose to 10th place, making it the only Arab country to find a place among the super league of the global top nations.
In the most recent edition of the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, issued by the World Economic Forum, the UAE topped the Arab world and ranked 17th globally in the global competitiveness ranking. The report also ranked the UAE among the top 20 competitive economies globally for the fifth consecutive year. The country also maintained its ranking to be among the world’s most significant innovation-based economies for the 11th successive year.
UAE Foreign Policy: Fostering development, combating terrorism
The year 2017 saw the United Arab Emirates steadily progressing on its path to achieve its political, economic, social and cultural goals, as envisioned by the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The UAE has strengthened its position as a global soft power, thanks to its proactive and unique programmes for humanitarian and development aid across the world, and its ongoing initiative to strengthen relations and to step-up cooperation with all countries across the globe.
The UAE’s foreign policy is founded on several pillars, including good neighbourliness, understanding, and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, as well as the amicable resolution of disputes. The fruits of this policy include mutual openness between the UAE and the world, and strategic partnerships on the political, economic, trade, cultural, scientific, educational and health levels and consolidating the prominent position the country has gained in the international community.
In 2017, the UAE has continued to use international platforms, including the United Nations and its different organisations, to rally the support of the international community for its efforts aimed at ending the Iranian occupation of the three Emirati islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa. The UAE adopts a steady approach in affirming its legitimate right to sovereignty over the three islands, while renewing the country’s demands to solve this issue by peaceful means, through direct bilateral dialogue or the International Court of Justice.
On the human rights front, the UAE continues with determination to make a positive difference at a global level by working constructively to support the implementation of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The UAE has a proactive approach to human rights, which is reflected in the significant progress in improving and expanding labour regulations and human trafficking laws, women’s rights, protection of children, rights of persons with disabilities, and promotion of equality.
One of the most powerful tools of UAE’s foreign policy is that of overseas assistance. The country’s agenda for international cooperation, directed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, includes four main elements: effective foreign assistance that reflects UAE values and enhances the UAE’s reputation, technical cooperation to enhance the impact of foreign assistance, active participation in the work of multilateral organisations, and International initiatives and events launched in the UAE.